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Top 200 Collectors

Black-and-white portrait of an elderly white

Reinhold Würth

Künzelsau, Germany

Fastening and assembly materials

Contemporary art; Medieval art; Modern art; Postwar art

Overview

Reinhold Würth acquired his first painting in 1964. It was a work by the German Experssionist Emil Nolde, and it’s still in his collection. In fact, all of the 18,300 pieces he has purchased over the course of his life are still in his collection, which was the subject of a major museum show in 2016 at the the Gropius Bau museum in Berlin.

For many this would cause a storage problem, but not for Würth. His artwork is exhibited publicly in four museums throughout Germany and Switzerland and in the corporate office buildings of the Würth Group, a hardware company. (One of Würth’s museums sports an artistic display of the screws that made Würth Group famous.)

Perhaps one day Würth will run out of room. Though in June 2020, he opened an annex to his Museum Würth in the German city of Künzelsau. Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the new extension adds 59,000 square feet, and cost around €39 million ($46 million). The space’s inaugural exhibition, “The Long View: Reinhold Würth and His Art Collection,” featured some 150 works from his extensive modern and contemporary art holdings. 

In the meantime, as Würth told Bloomberg, “What’s in the collection, stays in the collection.” And what’s in the collection are significant artworks by artists including Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Georg Baselitz, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, Nolde, and Max Beckmann.

In 2010, Würth discovered that he owned not one but two forgeries resembling works by Heinrich Campendonk and Max Ernst. Both works were painted by the same forger, Wolfgang Beltracchi, who was later sentenced to six years in jail.

A painting of the Virgin Mary by Hans Holbein, widely considered one of the most valuable examples of German Renaissance art, was purchased by the billionaire businessman in a private sale in 2011. Though the exact winning bid was unknown, experts have pegged the price upwards of $60 million—then the highest amount ever paid outside an auction. More recently, he scooped up Max Beckmann’s 1942 Water Tower in Holland and Roy Lichtenstein’s 1994 Metallic Brushstroke Head.

Newswire